A.J. Mendoza donated 2016-11-29 14:08:33 -0600
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A.J. Mendoza donated 2016-04-18 13:32:25 -0500
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1. I think that Hays’ strongest line of argumentation comes from aggressively trying to make it clear that Paul was referencing to what we would call “homosexual behavior”. His demonstration of Plutarch’s use of language around what is “unnatural” and “natural”, which clearly referenced to non-hetrosexual people, leaves Boswell’s case look immediately weak. Boswell’s case does sound nice in a bubble, but breaking out of that bubble and drawing hard lines to other contemporary Greek writers was a smart way undercut the argument.
2. Hays does affirm that all, homosexual and heterosexual, are condemned under the judgment of a righteous God, and that that should inform a more humble opposition from the Church. I think this point leaves much to be desired, and between the lines I can see him acknowledging while writing this that the Church has, by and large, not been at all humble in it’s opposition to accepting LGBTQ people as they are. Furthermore, the thinly veiled lines about “understanding the gravity of their choice” (see also: you’re choosing to go to Hell!) might make sense if he was sitting across the table from a gay adult…but I don’t think he could be that forceful were he talking to a young person. He has to account for young LGBTQ people, who are in verifiable numbers, suffering immensely. To make no mention of all about the Church’s wrongdoings in this area is to make a very weak argument.
3. I’m struggling to understand his application of “reason” as another way of knowing that Paul was condemning homosexual behavior regardless of whether or not the orientation is innate or chosen. The inconsistency here that I notice from the non affirming camp, is that prior to any rigorous study of human sexuality, non affirming Christians never budged from “its a choice”. Now that there is evidence that sexual orientation and gender identity is not chosen, their argument adapts to “chosen or not, its still wrong.” It is so puzzling to me how people can make that intellectual jump and still defend a non-affirming stance without skipping a beat.
A.J. Mendoza commented on Week 9 - bell hooks, "Choosing the Margin As A Space of Radical Openness" 2016-03-05 23:22:10 -06001. I believe that the degree to which people of color are responsible for provoking change and creating resistance against white supremacy is zero. White supremacy and racism are lethal in consequences, and I think to put responsibility around people of color in that way in tantamount to saying that someone who is being murdered responsible for stopping the murder, or someone who is being raped is responsible for stopping the rape. Victim blaming on a macro scale I guess would be the short way to get at what I’m trying to say. So while I think the responsibility on people of color is zero, I think that more often than not we find ourselves in those places doing that work. The degree to which people who have not suffered the effects of racism are responsible for stopping the injustices I think will be found when the individual reconciles loving the Lord with all their heart and their neighbor as themselves, and in the greatest form of love being giving up your life for another.
2. I identify as mixed race and Latino. My father was from Mexico and is an undocumented immigrant, and my mother was white. Sometimes I get to experience light-skinned privilege amongst other people of color, but by and large would receive more of the harmful effects of racism than privileges from it. I work as the Racial Justice organizer professionally, and I feel like the white people who I work with who are using their privilege to work in solidarity have consistently looked to elevate and centralize movements around marginalized voices. In this snapshot in time in 2016, seeing a privileged person seriously engaging with the BlackLivesMatter movement and the issues that it has raised would help me feel like they were truly standing in solidarity with people of color. Doing serious work around anti-racism requires people to move into areas of discomfort, but I feel like their is glimpses of the Kingdom of God on the other side of that discomfort.
1. Olyan’s hypothesis is plausible, and he seems to have a good understanding of the norms and restrictions regarding male sexual coupling in cultures neighboring Israel. I think Leviticus and the prohibitions contained within it sincerely make most modern readers extremely uncomfortable. Additionally, I think it is fair to claim many Christians feel a twinge of discomfort in themselves when we read something in Scripture that feels so revoltingly backwards. I feel like a lot of the motivations to pursue apologetics stems from the urge to release this discomfort and make the god that allegedly gave these orders good again in our minds. I feel like the Church could grow so much more if we sat in that discomfort for longer.
I think there is a danger in trying to force a progressive narrative onto the reading of historical texts, especially problematic ones. It is possible that Olyan might be reading more into the “one law for all” than there really is. In my mind, I can not honestly reconcile an ancient form of equality of men as a god planned stepping stone towards greater equality. Therefore I suppose my alternative hypothesis would be that Israel’s broad condemnation of male sexual coupling in Leviticus regardless of status was just another way to make themselves culturally distinct.
2. I completely disagree with Boyarin’s hypothesis. Ancient Israel was not the only culture to create homophobia, and in culture’s where homophobia is a problem, the link to patriarchy and the subjugation of women is clear. If there was an equally clear link to a cultural form of categorical obsession and homophobia, then I think Boyarin could have a case to make.
A.J. Mendoza commented on Week 6 - Robert Gagnon, "Why We Know That the Story of Sodom Indicts Homosexual Practice Per Se" 2016-02-13 19:10:10 -06001. I think Gagnon’s argument, implying that ‘homosexual practice’ was part of the compounding offense of Sodom is buttressed by his dissecting of Ezekiel 16:49-50. By chopping up the verse, and implying that same-sex sexual relations is still condemned between the lines of inhospitality, he cleverly calls to question a verse that is usually a quick go-to for affirming Christians. However, while I think his argument would be initially disarming, as he breaks down his analysis it is clear that he is resting on an absolute certainty that the Holiness Code does indeed speak to the intrinsic sinfulness of homosexuality. I would spend time countering him in Leviticus rather than let him muddy the water in Ezekiel. 2. a- While I think that the direct link he makes to Roman being a veritable echo chamber of themes from Sodom is tenuous at best, even if I granted that to him, he would still only be correct if the paradigm of our world was one in which every LGBTQ person was ‘irreverent’ and ‘godless’. Unfortunately for Gagnon’s argument, he has to deal with the fact that LGBTQ Christians exist, and are not roaming the streets seeking to gang rape passersby. b. Sorry Gagnon, but even you call the association with idolatry and Sodom as “loose”. What about the mention in Romans makes you think that it is specifically alluding to Sodom? Why not Egypt? Why not any other number of times that idolatry is mentioned earlier in Scripture?c. I don’t know how to respond to this point. Same sex intercourse occurs in nature, which he would of course disagree with me on. That feels like an impasse. d. I don’t see any compelling reason why this could not have been linking to Egypt instead of Sodom. General themes and words are of course going to reappear whenever we talk about sin. I’d explain to him the phenomenon of seeing patterns where none exist at all.
3. It appears clear to me that Gagnon would believe that same-sex consensual sex could be worse than rape. Rape could still lead to the creation of life, which he would believe to be a good thing. Typing that made me want to vomit. I feel like even most non-affirming Christians would find his logic to be horrifying, and his holding of that view to make the other viewpoints he holds less credible.
A.J. Mendoza commented on Week 6 - Mark Jordan, "The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology" 2016-02-07 23:02:20 -0600In order of importance, regarding which of the three concerns that were highlighted in 168-169, I would say femininity, cleanliness, and lastly nobility. While the author was not fond of brining homophobia into his analysis of sodomy, I am of the opinion that homophobia is deeply rooted in misogyny. What came to mind for me immediately was Mark Driscoll. He preached pretty openly about encouraging what the medieval mind would label sodomy (insofar as sex acts for pleasure) amongst married couples. So even though he, and presumably his church, were lightyears beyond the medieval understanding of sodomy in a way, he was still stuck in medieval homophobia because misogyny remained.
I had not made the connection before about how Jesus’s ministry confronted certain ideas of ritual cleanliness. I think it calling attention to the parallels with modern purity culture amongst Christians is a compelling historical link.
I find myself very much in agreement with the author’s analysis in the concluding paragraphs. I think a link that could strengthen the argument from possible dismissal would be to say that the initial momentum of condemnation eventually became, more or less, a tradition. The general disapproval of ‘homosexuality’ that was unleashed generations ago perhaps morphed into a thing that “we do because we do”, to the point where even a change to a positive view of marriage in the Church would not do much to end the condemnation.
…as far as new words go, leaving aside all the Latin ones, I’d have to go with invective. I definitely want to incorporate that into my vocabulary!
This was also the first reading to make me laugh out loud, I appreciated the author’s dry humor/snark.
“The usefulness of incomplete representations of ancient things is, so far as I can see, the only reason for feeding scholars.”
In a similar way to how MLK wrote about the “white moderate” being the biggest obstacle to liberation of people of color, even more so than cross burning overt racists, I find the “non-affirming moderate” to be a larger obstacle to LGBTQ inclusion in the Church than Westboro Baptist style homophobia. Out of the gate he begins his argument with a straw-man, the “gay apologists” who will stop at nothing until the “unqualified” acceptance of homosexuality is in the Church. The untold of amount of misery that has been unleashed through the arbitrary differentiation of “lifestyle” and “orientation v behavior” finds its beginnings here. To be frank, a weakness of his analysis is that he absolutely could not say it to a kid who was about to end their lives. I think when straight cisgender non affirming Christians truly see and begin to appreciate the amount of injury that so many in the Church inflict non-stop onto children, that that is when they begin to change. That is where I would have to start with someone who is where Hay’s was at when he wrote this, no way would I waste even a little time jumping into biblical analysis before I thought someone had a hint or inkling of appreciation for the reality facing LGBTQ people of all ages. None of our conversations will happen inside of vacuums, and I don’t want a non-affirming person to leave a conversation with me, go home, and chat over dinner about a conversation they had regarding the Bible when their closeted kid might be sitting next to them.
I hope for Hay’s own sake that he will come to a place where he can apologize for the harms caused by his writing before he passes. It was interesting to see his position on ordination of gay people, and how it was predictably qualified. In my tradition, we believe in the priesthood of all believers, and that “ordination” is not something that humans can decide to do. God will ordain ministers, and humans can choose to recognize that that happened or deny that it did. If I could have a conversation with Hay’s I would ask him about his experience with LGBTQ ministers, and I think that could be a rich conversation.
I made it through the first couple of pages in the first chapter before realizing that my inner dialogue was becoming snide, defensive, and critical of the author to the point where I was not even listening at all. Time to set the book down and pray for a bit. I was surprised that setting aside time to meaningfully engage again with arguments that I feel in some ways I have moved past (and arguments that the author doesn’t even necessarily hold!) caused such a strong reaction. I think that my heart needs some reformation, and maybe that will be a big part of the lift for myself in this project. I want to try to commit from this first week and up until we are in ATL, to assume best intentions and assume best potential of all of the authors. So with that, I picked up the book and tried again.
I do appreciate the Genesis story, because I think it is trying to impart the truth that there is a Creator and that humanity bears the image of that Creator. However, even though I’m an Evangelical Quaker, the full disclosure is that I think the Genesis story is a myth. An important myth, like Jonah, but not a literal historic event. So that is the lens that I am reading the analysis of Genesis 1 & 2 through, and I get the sense that the author might be more inclined to believe a literal Adam and Eve walked in Eden. That is totally fine if he does, but I think it sets him up to start using damaging shorthand, mostly referring to his binary language around gender and sexuality.
I don’t think complimentary view or the alternative view as presented in the chapter would feel great to many trans people, and I was shocked that transgender and gender non-conforming people did not really enter into any of the analysis. He did start touching on the idea of socially constructed and culturally specific notions of gender, but still leaned heavily on the idea of “male and female” or “both genders” to make his rebuttal make sense. There was also a couple times when describing “erotic acts” (anyone else kinda struggle with that word?) when there was an implicit assumption that men have penises, women have vaginas, and mothers all have breasts capable of producing milk. The idea of androgyny itself, or a genderless being, seemed to be kicked out of the field of any consideration pretty abruptly. The complimentary view will not be overcome and replaced with a view that “both genders” share equal responsibility, or at least that should not be the goal of LGB cisgender Christians in 2016.
So I may have argued it differently, and wished for more queer theory and gender theory, I was impressed with the idea of “one flesh” not being tied to something sexual. I need to spend more time in reflection on that, because I sense that the Spirit could open something new in me with that understanding.
Hello : ) my name is A.J. Mendoza and I am from Portland Oregon. I work as the racial justice organizer at my state’s largest LGBTQ policy advocacy organization called Basic Rights Oregon. I am a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and became a Christian during my junior year of college. I cannot wait to meet everyone in person! Though in the meantime, I am so looking forward to interacting with y’all online as we engage the readings : )
"Truth will not lose ground by being tried." ~ Isaac Penington 1616-1679
I support The Reformation Project because I understand the need that called it into existence. I understand growing up in a church where there was only 1 correct way of interpreting Scripture, where I was told that those who arrive at different conclusions are either not taking it seriously or being self-serving. I do take Scripture seriously, and on the most painful days of my life, even pain suffered at the hands of other Christians, I still took comfort in reading my Bible. TRP is equipping people to stand in the gap for some of the hardest conversations the Church has perhaps ever had, and to stand there with grace, humility, and love.
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